I picked up an apple from the ground, saw it had no bugs in it and took a bite. “Here,” I said, offering it to Jon, “take a bite”. Our apple tree has been dropping apple for a while, but they’re just turning ripe enough to eat.
Jon’s a bit like Johnny Appleseed these days, spreading seeds of good instead of apples.
So I too took a picture of Jon with an apple in his mouth and he took one of me.
I’m going with Jon to Albany this morning to the Bishop Maginn School.
He’s meeting with Kevin and Mary Reiss, who’s son, Milan, recently died. Kevin teaches at Bishop Maginn and they’re trying to raise money for Milan’s funeral. Jon, with the help of the Army of Good, already helped them raise more than half the money they need. You can read more about Milan, Kevin and Mary on Jon’s blog, just click here.
Today I’m bringing the loom Jon bought me a couple of years ago to Sue Silverstein to use in her art room. I thought I’d get back into weaving, but haven’t and Sue said she’d love to have it. I’m also bringing them a bag of wool that was given to me a few years ago by another weaver I know.
The first time I met Cindy in person was at one of Jon’s book readings. I think it was for his children’s book, The Dogs Of Bedlam Farm, at the Barnes and Nobel in Framingham Massachuttes. I remember Izzy, one of the stars of the book, was there too.
But I knew her before that when she started buying my art. (She still has a glasses case, by her bed, I made years ago)
We’ve met many times since then, and keep in touch online. Cindy is more than spunky. We nurture the independent and strong woman attitude in each other. Recently when I wrote about owning my success, Cindy left me a comment saying:
“Maria, Get out of that loft. Take off the dress of nails. It’s ok! You are a new woman. Loved and successful ! You just keep climbing higher and higher. Your sweetness and humility intact. We are all so proud of you! We all love you! Suck it up! Go for a cool swim at your river tomorrow and let it wash over you.”
That’s the kind of thing we do for each other.
So when Cindy asked me if I could make her a quilt for her bed, I didn’t hesitate. And I didn’t have to think long about how to start it.
Some time ago, Margaret sent me this wonderful top with women and horses on it. I’ve been waiting to use it, it’s been waiting to become something else. Cindy got her horse when she turned 60 and has become a horsewoman for the first time in her life.
So I began the quilt with the woman and the horse…
I wasn’t sure which colors to pull out till I found the yellow and purple tiger stripe fabric and it screamed Cindy. Then the rest began to come together.
This is where I left it yesterday. I’m not sure what comes next…
My third Tiny Pricks, called Infestation/Invasion, turned out just as I pictured it.
I started with the vintage embroidery of a Mexican couple that someone sent me a while ago and surrounded them with the words, infestation and invasion.
Donald Trump has used these words again and again to describe immigrants and refugees coming into our country, and neighborhoods where people of color live. When used in this way, both words have a long racist history in the United States.
Language Columnist, Ben Zimmer wrote about them in two different articles.
“Historically the verb “infest” has been used to talk not just about literal pests and diseases, but also to compare people—very often minorities and immigrant groups—to pests and diseases.”
He makes the point that when you compare people to pests and disease, they don’t have to be seen as people anymore.
Both words imply that something needs to be done to eradicate the people they refer to. “Infestations justify exterminations” wrote NY Times columnist Charles M. Blow. And military force is what we usually use to stop invaders.
I put up my hood, held my iPhone up to my face, and stepped out of the pole barn to get this video of the rain splashing on the rock under the drain spout. I hardly noticed the rain pelting my back as I watched the water burst in all directions as it hit the rock.
The force of the rain slowed just as I finished the video so it only pooled in a puddle as it came off the roof. All the drama drained out of it.
Yoni is the sanskrit word for vulva, womb, vagina, the sacred place where life comes from.
I was delighted at how well my Yoni Tree fabric painting reproduced on the poster I made of it. You can see the texture and depth of the doilie tree and the details of the goddess symbols I drew on the the old quilt background. Even the leaf coins pop. And the Yoni herself seems a rich and deep part of the tree.
I was sitting in the living room stitching my Tiny Pricks and thought of all women, over the centuries, who sat in their houses embroidering. I thought of all the samplers, bible verses and saying I’ve seen I’ve seen in museums and books.
And for the first time I wondered how many women from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century stitched subversive phrases or words into their work as they sat in their homes stitching and stitching.
Maybe someone out there has a collection of them because now that I’ve thought about it, I’m sure they exist.
It’s hard to see the birdbath that Flo is perched on drinking with all the flowers around it. This year the dahlia’s are taking the place of the zinnias and marigolds that didn’t grow. Actually, most of the seeds I planted this year didn’t take.
It’s a good thing I’m not a farmer.
Usually this time of year the grass is starting to yellow, but we keep getting rain and the sun is still hot and strong. Yesterday after going to the Mansion, I swam in the Battenkill.
There are fewer people there late in the afternoon this time of year. But the water is still cold enough to cool a body down.
Swimming in the river washes away so much more than just the sweat from my body. The shock of cold water clears my head and as my body acclimates to the temperature and weightlessness of floating, my muscles relax and I get soft all over.
This morning was chilly enough that my bare feet were actually cold in the dewy grass. The smell of late summer brought back memories of camping upstate before I lived here.
Nature was always a balm to me, even when I was a little kid. Whether the smell of pine trees vacationing in the Adirondacks or in the overgrown gardens and giant trees, surrounding the few old houses in my suburban neighborhood.
Somehow I always found hope in nature. Like no matter what happened, it would always welcome me. Even if I couldn’t survive in it, I’d always have a home in the natural world.